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Sunday 09, Nov 2014

  Canada Does Not Have Organized Doping System

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Canada Does Not Have Organized Doping System

An independent agency working on behalf of Cycling Canada has remarked that there is no overarching doping program in the country. The agency however disclosed in a report that Canada must improve its efforts to build a better educational platform for discouraging the use of performance enhancing drugs.

The report, entitled “National Consultation on Doping Activity in the Sport of Cycling,” emphasized on different areas of sport ethics like decision making, testing, and the culture of cycling and performance enhancing drugs. The report said there may have been isolated cases of performance enhancing drug use but they were not part of a national culture of performance enhancing drug use in elite cycling.

In a release, Greg Mathieu, chief executive officer of Cycling Canada, said we are pleased to hear that the report confirms that there is no ‘culture of doping’ in Canadian Cycling. Mathieu added we have been very clear in the past that Cycling Canada does not tolerate any athletes who try to cheat on their way to better performances and also remarked that we believe that it is possible to win at Olympic Games, World championships, or any other international or national events without the use of any doping agents.

The findings come after a series of confessions from professional cyclist from North America to using performance enhancing drugs through the “Reasoned Decision” of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). The USADA repot centered on Lance Armstrong and his U.S. Postal Service team.

Danish rider Michael Rasmussen in his autobiography, “Yellow Fever,” had remarked that he taught Canadians Ryder Hesjedal, Michael Barry, Seamus McGrath, and Chris Sheppard on how to use Erythropoietin (EPO). While Michael Barry admitted to using PEDs during his time on the USPS team the other two cyclists later admitted to using performance enhancing drugs on another instances.

Sheppard received a two-year suspension in 2005 after recombinant erythropoietin (rEPO) was found in his system. The cyclist was subjected to an out-of-competition urine test at his home in Kamloops on May 29, 2005. In 2013, Canadian mountain biker and Olympian Seamus McGrath admitted to doping. The cyclist had won silver in cross country at the 2002 Commonwealth Games and received bronze at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.

McGrath was placed ninth in the cross country event at the 2004 Olympics in Athens. Hesjedal, winner of the 2012 Giro d’Italia, admitted to doping after accusations by Rasmussen. His team Garmin-Sharp said Hesjedal had testified to the US Anti-Doping Agency and the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sports (CCES) much before the story of Rasmussen came out. Barry confessed to doping after he was named in the USADA report in the Lance Armstrong doping scandal. The cyclist said that he realized doping had become an endemic problem in professional cycling not long after he joined the US Postal Service team in 2002. Barry claimed he stopped doping in 2006 after he joined the T-Mobile team. Michael Barry admitted to using Erythropoietin (EPO), Human growth hormone (hGH) and Testosterone and accepted a six-month ban beginning September 10, 2012.

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Thursday 01, May 2014

  Team Sky Urges Ban On Tramadol

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Team Sky Urges Ban On Tramadol

Team Sky have called for the opioid Tramadol to be added to the banned list of  the World Anti-Doping Agency in response to comments made by Michael Barry, a former teammate of Lance Armstrong.

Barry, who rode for Team Sky until his retirement in 2012, recently disclosed that he made use of a legal and powerful drug while racing for the British team. Tramadol has potentially addictive side effects and is classified as a narcotic-like pain reliever that is used by athletes and others to treat moderate to severe pain. This drug can result in nausea, indigestion, vomiting, drowsiness, headache, dry mouth, abdominal pain, and vertigo. Indiscriminate use of this drug can lead to tachycardia, postural hypotension, palpitation, gastrointestinal irritation, or cardiovascular collapse.

Team Sky called for Tramadol to be outlawed so that use of this drug can be regulated using therapeutic use exemption certificates. A spokesperson for Team Sky, which won the past two Tours de France through Sir Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome, said none of our riders should ride whilst using Tramadol – that’s the policy of this team and added that Team Sky do not give it to riders whilst racing or training, either as a pre-emptive measure or to manage existing pain. The spokesperson added we believe that its side-effects, such as dizziness and drowsiness, could cause issues for the safety of all riders and added we also feel that if a rider has the level of severe pain for its appropriate use, they should not be riding. The spokesperson for Team Sky also remarked that Tramadol is not prohibited by WADA, but this has been our firm position for the last two seasons and all medical staff and riders are aware of this and said our view is that it should be on the WADA list and any appropriate clinical use could be managed through the regulated Therapeutic Use Exemptions.

Tramadol was used by Michael Barry for treating legitimate complaints. Barry remarked he had nagging injuries throughout his career and he used Tramadol when he was injured and racing injured, but he also realized the side effects. The former cyclist said it was a lot stronger than he thought and is potentially addictive.

Sir Dave Brailsford, the Team Sky principal, remarked the no-Tramadol policy of this team was reiterated at the team’s training camp last November. Brailsford said it is similar to someone having their first joint and then moving on to ecstasy or whatever and added then the next thing you know everyone is on crack cocaine.

Tramadol was included on the 2014 “monitoring program” for “possible in-competition abuse” by WADA and the anti-doping agency remarked the World Anti-Doping code stipulates that a substance or method can be considered for inclusion on the WADA prohibited list (which is reviewed every year) if it is determined that it meets two of the following three criteria: it has the potential to enhance sport performance, it represents a health risk to the athletes, and it violates the spirit of sport.

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Thursday 24, Jan 2013

  Ex-UCI Head Says Riders Were Warned

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Ex-UCI Head Says Riders Were Warned

The world governing body of cycling warned Lance Armstrong and other riders when they came close to testing positive for performance enhancing drugs, according to the former President of UCI, Hein Verbruggen.

Verbruggen, in an interview with the Dutch magazine Vrij Nederland published on Wednesday, said dozens of the top riders and team managers were invited to the headquarters of the UCI in Aigle “one by one”, where the chief doctor of the cycling body, Mario Zorzoli, gave them presentations on its anti-doping strategy and information about suspect values. The former UCI President this was part of a conscious strategy to try to reduce doping.

Verbruggen justified his defense of Armstrong during his tenure despite the fact that the world governing body of cycling warned him about his red blood cell values being suspect. He further added that he is not responsible if a cyclist is tested 215 times and he is always negative and the problem lies in the test itself.

The Australian anti-doping expert instrumental in developing the biological passport for the UCI between 2008 and 2012 before he resigned, Michael Ashenden, remarked he was not aware of any other international federation pursuing a similar strategy.

The World Anti-Doping Agency and the United States Anti-Doping Agency have refused to cooperate with the independent commission set up by the UCI to look into claims that the governing body covered up a positive drug test in 2001 in return for a donation of $125,000 from Lance Armstrong.  Meanwhile, Brian Cookson, the president of British Cycling, has remarked that he is fully supportive of UCI president Pat McQuaid who since his election in 2005 has done an impressive job in frequently difficult circumstances and added that it is absolutely vital for the future of our sport that we all remain united.

Verbruggen, who is still an honorary president of the UCI, and his successor, Pat McQuaid, have been under intense pressure ever since the Lance Armstrong doping scandal wherein the disgraced cyclist was stripped of his seven Tour de France victories and admitted doping throughout each of them. A lifetime ban was imposed on the cycling icon by the UCI after the United States Anti-Doping Agency submitted its reasoned decision that was supported by the testimony of many of Armstrong’s former teammates (Frankie Andreu, Michael Barry, Tom Danielson, Tyler Hamilton, George Hincapie, Floyd Landis, Levi Leipheimer, Stephen Swart, Christian Vande Velde, Jonathan Vaughters, and David Zabriskie).

The evidence brought forward by USADA included direct documentary evidence including financial payments, emails, scientific data, and laboratory test results that proved the use, possession and distribution of performance enhancing drugs by Lance Armstrong and confirmed the deceptive activities of the USPS Team.

After this, Lance Armstrong and two other members of the USPS Team, Dr. Michele Ferrari and Dr. Garcia del Moral, also received lifetime bans for perpetrating this doping conspiracy while three other members of the USPS Team (Johan Bruyneel, the team director; Dr. Pedro Celaya, a team doctor; and Jose “Pepe” Marti, the team trainer) decided to contest the charges and take their cases.

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Thursday 01, Nov 2012

  Anti-Doping Law Flouted By Ban On Armstrong

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Anti-Doping Law Flouted By Ban On Armstrong

According to experts, the decision of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) to ban @Lance Armstrong and stripping him of his seven Tour de France wins rides roughshod over established anti-doping rules.

Many sport law specialists have remarked that the anti-doping agency report that triggered the downfall of the disgraced cyclist and the endorsement of the same by the governing body of cycling, UCI, ignored the statute of limitations that ordinarily applies in such cases.

Lance Armstrong was banned for life and stripped of all his titles. His results after August 1998 were annulled and all his sponsors, including Nike, left him. This was after former teammates of the cyclist (Frankie Andreu, Michael Barry, Tom Danielson, Tyler Hamilton, George Hincapie, Floyd Landis, Levi Leipheimer, Stephen Swart, Christian Vande Velde, Jonathan Vaughters, and David Zabriskie) condemned him with sworn eyewitness testimonies saying that Armstrong used and even encouraged the use of performance enhancing drugs and even threatened those who refused to take drugs by telling them their place in the team will be given to someone else.

Now the specialists suggest that Armstrong may even have grounds for making an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport over the decision.

Antonio Rigozzi, a doping law professor at the university of Neuchatel in Switzerland, said the case is certainly unique in its scale but it is not a reason not to apply or even ignore the (anti-doping) rules, as we have seen.

According to anti-doping rules, there is a limit of eight years to bring alleged violation cases but eyebrows were raised in legal circles about the agreements made with the former teammates of the cyclist to testify against him.

Alexis Schoeb, a Swiss lawyer specializing in sport, remarked that the fact that former cyclists who are currently owning up the use of drugs are treated in another way and the eight-year limitation has been respected while there is no such rule in the case of Lance Armstrong and this surely suggests that there is a touch of double standards.

USADA pulled off a political coup by allowing access to the public on its website to a very detailed report that practically made any appeal doomed to failure, French lawyer Jean-Jacques Bertrand said and added that dispassionate judges who apply the law as it stands are required for handling this case.

Meanwhile, more humiliation is on the way for Armstrong as his effigy will be burned at a Kent town’s annual bonfire celebration to mark a failed 1605 plot to blow up parliament and kill King James I. A 30ft (9m) model of the Texan rider will go up in flames in Edenbridge. With this, the cyclist joins the list of Cherie Blair, Katie Price, Gordon Brown, Mario Balotelli, Wayne Rooney, former French president Jacques Chirac, ex-British prime minister Tony Blair, Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, and Russell Brand; effigies of all of them were burned in the past. Armstrong’s effigy holds a sign reading: “For Sale — Racing Bike. No longer required.” The effigy of Lance Armstrong also sports a badge around its neck that says “Jim Fixed It For Me”, a reference to the late British television presenter Jimmy Savile who was accused of widespread child sex abuse.

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Saturday 13, Oct 2012

  Bradley Wiggins Shocked At Evidence Against Armstrong

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Bradley Wiggins Shocked At Evidence Against Armstrong

Tour de France 2012 winner Bradley Wiggins recently said he is shocked to learn the scale of evidence against the disgraced seven-time Tour de France champion, Lance Armstrong. Armstrong was labelled a serial drug cheat by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

Wiggins, who became Britain’s first Tour de France winner, clinched a gold medal in the road time trial at the London Olympics, and led Team GB to eight gold medals in the London Olympics and the Beijing Games, insisted he was already suspicious about Armstrong, who maintains his innocence, after persistent rumors of drug use. Wiggins added that the deluge of evidence against the American still came as a surprise to him and said it is certainly not a one-sided hatchet job. The Briton said he has no sympathy for Lance Armstrong and said he is frustrated that the behavior of the American cyclist remains the main talking point in cycling at the end of his memorable year.

The concerns of Wiggins were supported by British Cycling head Dave Brailsford who said the emergence of Armstrong as a confirmed drug cheat may lead the general public and fans to the achievements of riders such as Bradley Wiggins and Sir Chris Hoy.

One of the teammates who testified against Armstrong was Michael Barry, who admitted to doping while a member of Armstrong’s US Postal Service team. Some other teammates of Armstrong who have accused him of using performance enhancing drugs include Floyd Landis, Tyler Hamilton, Christian van de Velde, Tom Danielson, David Zabreskie, and George Hincapie. The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has accused Armstrong and his USPS team of using a range of performance enhancing drugs such as erythropoietin (EPO), blood transfusions, testosterone, corticosteroids, human growth hormone, and masking agents. The cyclist was even accused of encouraging teammates to use drugs and conspiring with team manager Johan Bruyneel, doctor Pedro Celaya, doctor Luis del Moral, doctor Michele Ferrari, and trainer Jose Pepe Marti.

The anti-doping agency said Armstrong was the ringleader of the most sophisticated doping conspiracy in sporting history and charged him with six offenses covering the use of banned substances, the trafficking of drugs, the administration of drugs to teammates and supporting and abetting a massive cover-up between 1998 and 2005. A total of 26 witnesses including 11 fellow riders from the United States Postal Service team testified against Armstrong in a doping case the USADA described as “more extensive than any previously revealed in professional sports history”. The agency said the USPS Team doping conspiracy was professionally designed for grooming and pressuring athletes to make use of dangerous drugs, evade detection, ensure secrecy, and ultimately gain an unfair competitive advantage through superior doping practices. The dossier by USADA has been sent to the International Cycling Union which now has 21 days to challenge its findings and appeal to the World Anti-Doping Agency or comply with its decision to strip Lance Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles.

Lance Armstrong himself remained defiant after release of the USADA report, tweeting that he was “hanging with family”.

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